AUTHOR: Kerri Kubalak
AGENCY: Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit
Direct Care Worker Heroes is a Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry direct care worker training grant that offers career services to new and currently employed direct care worker (DCW) professionals.
These individuals work in positions such as home health aides, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and paraprofessionals. They are employed in settings including private homes, nursing facilities, hospitals, facilities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, non-residential day programs and daycares. Direct care workers are also one of the largest and fastest growing workforces in the country.
They are a lifeline for those they serve, as well as for families and individuals struggling to provide quality care.
DCW Heroes assists individuals who want to build their skills and knowledge to enter into a direct care worker position or advance their career. DCW Heroes offers an online, self-paced, professional caregiver course designed for the new DCW. Individuals that are already employed as direct care workers can earn certificates in Dementia Speciality, Mental Health Speciality, Falls Prevention, and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. DCW Heroes also supports individuals with access to industry recognized credential trainings such as CPR, First Aid, Bloodborne and Airborne Pathogens and Nurse Aide Training to become a CNA.
DCW Heroes career coaches work with individuals to support training, employment and retention.
Career coaches also connect participants with outside agencies to help address life challenges including transportation and childcare. Jodi, a DCW Heroes participant, was referred to the program from another training grant. She was already a Temporary Nurse Aide and was employed at Harmony, an assisted living facility in State College. She was interested in advancing her healthcare career, but was struggling to find
stable housing in her children’s school district. With the support of her DCW Heroes career coach she was connected to local resources, received assistance and was able to obtain stable and affordable housing.
Jodi continued to work with her career coach and enrolled in Nurse Aide training at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology. She completed training and is now certified as a CNA.
She continued her career journey, completing microcredentials offered by DCW Heroes. Jodi is now certified in Bloodborne and Airborne First Aid. Her desire to learn and continue building her skills is a benefit to the individuals she cares for. When asked about how DCW Heroes supported her career
journey, Jodi said, “I am thankful for DCW Heroes because the program has helped me advance my career in the nursing field.”
DCW Heroes is administered by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit. If you or someone you know is seeking a rewarding career as a direct care worker, DCW Heroes can help. Apply online at:
www.csiu.org/DCWheroes or call (570) 246-5976.
Written by: Kerri Kubalak, DCW Heroes Program Manager